Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit and a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, made the following statement on the first Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent killed in the line of duty, Gerardo I. Hernandez.
"My own and the thoughts and prayers of the nation are with the family of the fallen TSA agent, 39 year-old Gerardo I. Hernandez. Most people think of TSA employees as workers who search and monitor them and their bags, but yesterday the nation and world saw them as federal employees who put themselves in harm's way, serving our nation. A note from the shooter expressed antipathy towards the federal government, and particularly TSA employees. TSA agents are not the only federal employees whose civilian jobs endanger them.
"Like Mr. Hernandez, hundreds of thousands of unarmed front-line federal employees, who serve the public as IRS agents, census collectors, social security employees, and even judges, along with many others in other federal occupations, come in contact with troubled members of the public every day. These are the same employees who have endured sequester furloughs this year, on top of a third straight year of pay freezes, and recently faced additional furloughs because Republicans shut down the government for 16 days. Our sadness about the randomness of the tragic shooting of TSA agent Hernandez should also open our eyes to the risks TSA employees take on our behalf daily and to the importance of their work for the nation. At the same time, this tragedy cast light on other federal workers, who also serve vital and too often unappreciated roles, serving our country with diligence despite the risks to themselves."